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Oglethorpe University maintains records on different student groups. The types of records, methods for maintaining and access to those records are summarized below. Unless otherwise stated, all records are maintained for five years after a student withdraws or graduates. The records are then shredded and discarded. Records are retained longer if there are any outstanding requests to inspect and review them.

The registrarís office keeps folders on each student; the folders originate in the admission or evening degree program office (whichever is the appropriate entrance office for a given student). The folders contain the admission application, high school and/or college transcripts and other documents that the admission or evening degree program office may collect. Folders remain in the registrarís active files while students are enrolled and any correspondence or any other documents with the exception of registration and drop/add forms are filed there. When students graduate or withdraw, folders are moved to the inactive files, where they remain for five years. Both the active and inactive files are housed in a locked room. All registration and drop/add forms are stored together by semester in a separate locked cabinet and are destroyed after five years.

In addition to these paper files, transcripts are stored electronically and permanently by the registrarís office. Electronic records are accessed through password-protected screens. Electronic records are accessible to most administrative offices, and the chief administrator of each area approves access levels to the data. Information technology services backs up electronic files nightly. Backups representing the previous eight weeks are stored in a bank vault two miles from the campus, so that the backups would be secure in the event of a fire or other disaster.

Secondary Maintenance of Academic Records
In addition to the official student folders maintained by the Registrarís Office, academic advisers maintain an advising folder for each of their advisees. This folder contains transcripts from other institutions, test scores, degree check forms, student schedules and other documents relevant to the academic advising of students. These folders are locked in the professorsí individual offices. The records are maintained for a minimum of two years after a student withdraws or graduates and are then delivered to the registrarís office for proper destruction through shredding. Records pertaining to Honor Code violations are stored in the provostís office, with copies in student folders in the registrarís office. The records are maintained for five years after a student withdraws or graduates and are then shredded.

The provostís office secures all Honor Code violation information in a storage cabinet in the provostís locked office. If an Honor Code violation becomes part of a studentís academic record, copies are hand delivered by the provost to the registrarís office.

Release of Information
During orientation, students have the opportunity to sign a FERPA Release form, which gives the university permission to release select academic or financial information to specific persons. The form is designed to be used in cases of emergency and does not allow the designated persons to receive information over the phone that is not normally given in that manner. The signed forms are stored at the registrarís office. Staff and faculty may call the office to find out if and what information they may discuss with designated persons.

In addition, every employee of Oglethorpe University including student workers, signs a ďFERPA Compliance AgreementĒ as part of his or her employment orientation. Faculty and staff are instructed not to speak to parents or any other parties about a studentís academic progress unless the student has signed the FERPA Release form giving the requesting party access to the information.

The registrar is responsible for oversight of studentsí academic records and confidentiality. The registrar regularly attends FERPA sessions at conferences sponsored by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), and the regional affiliate, the Southern Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (SACRAO). The registrar also subscribes to a registrar listserv and takes part in online discussions about current registrar questions and policies. The registrar meets regularly with the registrar office staff to discuss FERPA policies, and takes responsibility for educating the wider university community on FERPA policies.

All daily procedures in the Registrarís Office are handled in accordance with FERPA regulations and maintaining student confidentiality is the highest priority. With that, students must present picture IDs and signatures authorizing release of or changes to their non-directory information.

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